‘The exquisitely curated essays in this book examine The Knitting Map and its trajectory from a brilliant idea to a performative act of generosity, remembrance, joy and ultimately deep significance.’ 

Michelle Fricke, The Ray Beagle Chair in Art History, Kansas City Art Institute, USA.  

The Knitting Map Book Launch, Cork City Hall, Mar 2019 Phot. Célem Deegan ©
The Knitting Map Book Launch, Cork City Hall, Mar 2019 Phot. Célem Deegan ©

Published by Bloomsbury in 2019 and richly illustrated in colour, this collection includes lively chapters by art critics Lucy Lippard, Fionna Barber and Jessica Hemmings which locate The Knitting Map within distinctive histories of feminist art making, Irish art history, and collaborative textile making.  Order copies here.

Textiles Community and Controversy was published at a unique moment of reclamation and debate about women’s textile art. The Knitting Map was commissioned by the European Capital of Culture: Cork 2005, developed from an idea by Jools Gilson, and directed by Gilson and Richard Povall. This book unravels the contradictory gestures of community and controversy manifest in contemporary textile art practices involving women as artists and makers, using the major Irish textile work, The Knitting Map as resonant case study and site of contested debate. It does so with a lively collection of critical and performative writing and full colour illustration:    

  • New writing by some of the best known contemporary critics on textile art and feminism; Lucy Lippard, Jessica Hemmings & Joanne Turney.   
  • Introduction to The Knitting Map as a key moment in Irish art history, and as a complex, multi-modal textile art work by art historian Fionna Barber.   

Read the Review of this book in Textile Cloth and Culture here.  

Other Writing on The Knitting Map: 

The Knitting Map has produced a rich range of writing in book, journal and online formats. How a knitting project in Cork became a controversial yarn for RTÉ Brainstorm was written to coincide with the Bloomsbury publication. ‘Navigation, Nuance and half/angel’s Knitting Map’ was published by Gilson in Performance Research in 2012. Two further articles written with the US art critic Deborah Barkun were published in 2011 and 2007 (‘Orienteering with Double Moss’ and ‘Choreographed Cartography’). A well-known local historian and Cork City Councillor – Kieran McCarthy also published a book about The Knitting Map in 2005 called The Knitting Map Speaks which gives a compelling oral history of the knitters who made the work.  


Jools Gilson & Nicola Moffat Eds. (2019)  Textiles Community & Controversy: The Knitting Map, London & New  

York: Bloomsbury.  

Jools Gilson (2019) How a knitting project in Cork became a controversial yarnRTÉ Brainstorm.  

Jools Gilson (2012) ‘Navigation, Nuance and half/angel’s Knitting Map: A Series of Navigational Directions . . ‘.  

Performance Research, 17 (1): 9 – 20.  

Jools Gilson-Ellis & Deborah Barkun (2011) ‘Choreographed Cartography: Translation, Feminized Labor and  

Digital Literacy in half/angel’s The Knitting Map’Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings,  

Digital Commons @ University of Nebraska, Lincoln. 

Jools Gilson-Ellis & Deborah Barkun (2007) ‘Orienteering with Double Moss: The Cartographies of half/angel’s  

The Knitting Map’. International Journal of Performance Arts & Digital Media, 3 (2): 183 – 195. 


McCarthy, Kieran. (2005) The Knitting Map Speaks. (Dublin: Nonsuch Publishing)